Friday, November 25, 2005

Writing Requires Listening

Writing Requires Listening

Ben Casnocha turned me onto this discussion about how both Paul Graham and Jason Fried place great importance on the ability to write well.

Being a writer, it warms my heart to see such importance being placed on writing. But I think that there is another, often overlooked reason why writing is such a necessary skill.

Good writers also understand their audience. Good writing doesn't exist in a vacuum. It is a product of understanding both your subject and your audience.

To write well, you must listen well and understand other points of view. That may be just as important as the ability to organize one's thoughts.

The ability to both read/listen and write/speak lets you close the communication loop, and persuade your audience of your point of view.

3 comments:

Ben Casnocha said...

Your first two links are broken because they link to the Trackback URL, which is not valid. This confused me for the longest time - trackback URLs are entered in a different part in TypePad...don't know how it is in blogger.

Tyler Willis said...

I have seen people use trackback on blogger, but haven't gotten around to figuring it out.

on the topic of writing I want to pose a question to you. I love to write and place a great deal of importance on the written word -- but I notice a trend towards visual communication. For example it seems that If you send a 3-4 page well constructed document it is far less likely to be comprehended then a 3-4 page well constructed powerpoint.

Chris... Ben... Anyone else notice this trend?

Chris said...

It's absolutely true that visual communication is more effective for most purposes.

I've seen presenters who use slides with only a single sentence, a single word, or even just an image.

On the other hand, it's hard to do this in written form.

One person who does a good job of using words plus one or two graphics is Kathy Sierra:

http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2005/12/never_underesti.html

One of the reasons her blog is so popular is precisely her use of images.